Ultraman Jet VTOL

 Ultraman  (1966-67)
        If you were a kid growing up in the sixties, chances are pretty good that you have met Ultraman.  Produced in Japan, Ultraman was a television series that ran for 39 episodes from 1966-1967.  Our hero, Shiu Hayata was given a powerful Beta Capsule from a team of aliens patrolling the cosmos in search of evil in whatever shape or form.  Crash landing on Earth, the Science Special Search Patrol gave Shiu this mysterious device that turned him into Ultraman at the press of a button.  Ultraman went forth to battle giant monsters and sinister aliens that threatened Earth using an aresenal of karate kicks and chops, laser beams and bombs in pursuit of peace.

     If this was not enough, another character in this intergalactic adventure was Dr. Iwa who invented the Jet VTOL.  This ultra modern aircraft resembled a commercial airplane with a large turbo jet engine in the rear.  It was capable of vertical takeoff and landings hence the name- VTOL.  At some point in the series, the Jet VTOL was replaced by the S111 VTOL powered by no less than three hydrogen rocket boosters giving the aircraft the ability to fly into space.  After all, this is where evil can often be found.  Okay, you get the idea.

  The Hasegawa 1/72 Jet VTOL
        Our model consists of about 52 pieces in both grey and clear styrene plastic.  Hasegawa is known for quality kits and this model is no exception.  Upon first inspection, the details on each part are crisp and accurately cast all the way down to the tiny pilot neck ties.  Included in the kit is an instruction booklet and a full set of decals which provide the builder the option to save time on painting and a choice of three different Jet VTOL designations.  The Jet VTOL was destroyed several times in the production of the series and was reassembled at least three times before being replaced by the rocket version.  The kit includes a round display base for easy mounting and three pilot figures with a much appreciated painting guide.  At first glance, this is not a kit that you can throw together in a single evening but provides enough detail and superior casting quality to make assembly a rewarding experience.  We will grab our own Beta Capsule and break the seal on the first set of parts.

  Getting started...
        Before we begin the actual assembly of the VTOL we must break the seal on the box and take a look at what's inside.  I am immediately impressed with the relatively small number of parts in this kit having recently finished a Trumpeter T-34 in 1/16 scale.  The parts are packed in cellophane along with a clear parts sprue, decals and an instruction booklet.  We decided to begin assembly of the cockput and after locating the requisite parts we applied several coats of grey  Eastwood primer. 

  The Cockpit
        The most challenging part of the cockpit assembly will be masking and applying paint.  We are using Vallejo water colors and are using a paint guide we found on YouTube for additional help.  The seat backs and console will be painted a neutral gray and the seat cushions will be painted a buff or putty color. We will add different combinations of colors to simulate the lights or switches on the control console.

  Wings, gas tanks and missiles
        Assembly of the wings, gas tanks and missiles is very straightforward and the only concern is cleaning up any flash and filling in the seams.  We took this opportunity to assemble the two rear thrusters but not before painting them flat black and steel.  We started painted the wings and fuselage with Vallejo Silver as opposed to the sail color recommended in the instructions.  The Vallejo gives the wing surfaces a really nice finish without being too glossy.

  The Fuselage and Canopy
        Once the cockpit assembly was secured to the lower half of the fuselage we were ready to tackle the masking and painting of the canopy.  Both halves of the fuselage have already been airbrushed Valejo Silver which gave us the perfect finish for our VTOL.  The kit comes with paint masks which had to be painstakingly cut from the sheet with an XActo knife.  Proper fit is really important in this step.   We air brushed several coats of the silver and were delighted with the results.  The detail on the forward windows is really good.   

  Filling the gaps
        Both halves of the fuselage have been glued together and now comes the fun part.  We used Tamiya body putty to begin filling the seams along the two body pieces.  We will sand them smooth and then apply another coat of Vallejo silver.  Woohoo.  Wings have been glued to the fuselage and another coat of silver has been added.  Next come the wing mounted missles.

  The Stand
        The design of the VTOL stand is actually pretty clever and allows for the adjustment of the angle of the VTOL once it is mounted on the stand.  Assembly was very easy and did not pose any problems.  We primed all of the parts before applying a matte black and silver finish to the base and supporting arm of the stand.  The rear thrusters have been installed in the fuselage and look appropriately cool.
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